Spanish taxi drivers partially shut down a central Madrid boulevard on Thursday (February 18), beeping horns, setting off fireworks and waving in protest of what they called unfair competition from private shared ride businesses like Uber.

Uber and similar services, facing protests worldwide for offering to match private vehicle owners with customers seeking a lift, cannot currently run in Spain while the courts system decide their legal status.

Spain’s regulatory agency CNMC is expected to pass a ruling next week which will loosen regulation and open the transport service to greater competition.

Such a ruling would pitch the heavily regulated taxi drivers, which must acquire licenses and offer their services according to closely watched rules, against untested drivers using car-sharing apps with little, or no, restrictions.


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